If you or your loved one is battling drug or alcohol addiction, you’re probably aware of how bumpy the path to recovery can be. Withdrawal symptoms can range from restlessness and irritability to tremor and seizures, based on the severity of the addiction.
Detoxification is the first step to recovery. It’s the process in which toxins present in the drugs are gradually flushed out from your system. A medically supervised detox program helps you cope with the physical and psychological symptoms that arise during withdrawal. However, over 60% treated victims of drug abuse go into relapse within the first year. Here are some habits that you can develop that not only supplement the detox process but also prevent relapse.1
1. Drink Fluids
Dehydration is a common alcohol and drug withdrawal symptom. To avoid further complications due to dehydration, make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Water also acts as a natural detoxifier and flushes out drug toxins from your system. On an average, drink between 3 and 4 liters of water for every day of your detox procedure. You can also meet your water requirement by drinking fruit juices or prescribed energy drinks.2
2. Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
Eat a variety of food so that you obtain all the essential nutrients that your body needs. Ensure you eat food regularly and don’t skip a meal. Also, talk to a medical practitioner about supplements, such as vitamin A,C, B-complex, and zinc, as they can be helpful.
Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, but cut back on added sugar. Make sure you eat foods with healthy fats. So, load up on fatty fish, nuts, and even dark chocolate. Additionally, include foods like broccoli, peas, oats and lentils in your diet. The protein, complex carbs, and fiber present in these foods will provide energy and help your body manage withdrawal symptoms.3 However, avoid foods that contain high amounts of “bad” fats and cholesterol, such as red meat, dairy, and store-purchased snacks. Also, avoid refined processed food and beverages.
3. Avoid Caffeine
While it’s obvious that alcohol and drugs are a complete no-no, you shouldn’t forget that other milder stimulants are also best avoided. Coffee, for example, could hinder your recovery. Some experts claim that caffeine can rewire your brain for addiction and push you into relapse. Instead of coffee, try herbal tea or fruit juice.
4. Exercise Regularly
By exercising every day, you can open up your skin pores, and sweat out the toxins. Studies note that exercise – aerobic forms of exercise, in particular – could help the victim of substance abuse in all phases of recovery. Exercise could also help prevent relapse and prolong sobriety.4 So, every day, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise. You could choose to go running, swimming, or even hit the gym.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Most people on their path to sobriety experience insomnia, which is a major drug withdrawal symptom. However, for your body to detox completely and recover, rest is essential. If you’re unable to sleep, talk to your counselor about it and discuss possible treatment methods, such as sleep restriction therapy or bright light therapy.
Alternatively, you could try to induce sleep by meditating or performing some light exercises.5 Also, before you go to bed, open your windows to let in some fresh air. Make sure that the temperature of your bedroom is optimum and not too hold or too cold. You could also try doing some light reading or listen to soothing music to help you fall asleep. Certain indoor plants like the Valerian or the English Ivy can also help you sleep better.
6. Seek Social Support
Having loved ones to rely on during the recovery period not only makes the process easier to deal with but also lowers your chances of going into relapse. Non-judgmental social and emotional support from family and trusted friends can add value to any treatment or detox program. You could also enrol yourself in a support group to seek acceptance and comfort during this difficult phase.6
Detox isn’t just restricted to the one-week where the toxins are flushed out from your body. Supplementing the detox treatment with these habits can prolong drug or alcohol abstinence and prevent relapse.
|↑1||Detoxification. Northwell Health.|
|↑2||Myrick, Hugh, and Raymond F. Anton. “Treatment of alcohol withdrawal.” Alcohol Research and Health 22, no. 1 (1998): 38.|
|↑3||Substance use recovery and diet. MedLine Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑4||Smith, Mark Andrew, and Wendy J. Lynch. “Exercise as a potential treatment for drug abuse: evidence from preclinical studies.” Frontiers in psychiatry 2 (2012): 82.|
|↑5||Treating Sleep Problems of People In Recovery From Substance Use Disorders. Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration.|
|↑6||Atadokht, Akbar, Nader Hajloo, Masoud Karimi, and Mohammad Narimani. “The role of family expressed emotion and perceived social support in predicting addiction relapse.” International journal of high risk behaviors & addiction 4, no. 1 (2015).|